Thursday, 14 November 2019

Midweek Munchies

Coincidentally, the things I am sharing this week fall into three categories - two things spotted in supermarkets, two things celebrating berries, and two gyoza tastings. Let's get into it!

A while ago I mentioned that I had found some tasty vegan bacon bits at The Cruelty Free Shop. Well, good news, I have since spotted them in Woolworths, along with the rest of their range. The Caesar Bits are not vegan, but everything else is.

Crunchy Bits at Woolworths

I was also poking around in an IGA a while ago and saw these. I didn't buy any, because I was on my way to a physio appointment and didn't want to have fridge stuff kicking around on a hot day. Also, like almost all new vegan meaty products, they are super expensive. But if I saw them on sale, I wouldn't mind trying the chicken style sausages. Burger options abound, but I don't think I've seen any chicken style sausages in other brands.

Seen in IGA

I love strawberries, they are my favourite fruit. Also my favourite flavour. In Australia, winter is peak strawberry time. In summer, they go mouldy before you can even get them out of the shops. It was a good strawberry season this winter, and I ate a lot. I loved having them as a change from blueberries on toast with peanut butter and banana.

Peanut Butter, Banana, Strawberries on Toast

And they are wonderful chopped up on top of granola and yoghurt! Along with some blueberries as well in this bowl. Berries are the best!

Berries on Granola

Finally, some gyoza. I set out to try all lots of the different vegan versions available during the cooler months, they make a nice lunch. For these vegetable gyoza, I tried the steaming method.

Steamed Gyoza

And for these ones, I tried the pot sticker method. Both were good. Oh, and I served both of these doused in my favourite black vinegar, of course.

Potsticker Gyoza

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

Dim Sim, being thoroughly nonchalant about her stunning portrait. Typical cat.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Eating Out: Easy House Vegetarian (birthday edition, with cheesecake)

Last week was my birthday, I'm 38 years old now. My birthday was on Thursday, which happens to be cheap plate yum cha day ($5.90 per plate every Thursday) at Easy House Vegetarian. The law dictated that I must go and have yum cha for lunch, so I went down with my parents (three is the magic number for yum cha participants) and we ate a glorious amount! Because there weren't many people when we got there, they weren't bringing trays around. A bit sad, because I love that part of yum cha. But we just ordered off the yum cha list, and they made things fresh for us. Everything was delicious, as always. Regular reading friends will know that this is one of my favourite places, and you can see some of my previous visits here.

BBQ pork is a big theme, with some beloved Steamed BBQ Pork Buns. We also got some Roasted Pork Buns, which is the same BBQ pork but wrapped in a flaky pastry.

BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

Roast BBQ Pork Buns at Easy House

My mum's favourite is Noodles in XO Sauce, which tends to be a bit spicy for me. But my parents enjoyed it! I nibbled some of the noodles on the end that didn't have the hot sauce on them, I love how thick they are.

Noodles in XO Sauce at Easy House

Dumplings are a must! We had a variety - Chicken & Bok Choy, Mushroom, and Coriander.

Dumplings at Easy House

And of course, my favourite beloved - Radish Cakes and Steamed Beancurd Rolls. We got two plates of each! I just love these so much.

Radish Cakes at Easy House

Steamed Beancurd Rolls at Easy House

Of course, birthdays need cakes. I ordered an Apple Crumble Cheesecake from local vegan cake maker The Little Vegan & Co, and it was glorious.

Apple Crumble Cheesecake by The Little Vegan and Co

Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant - 8/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters, QLD - (07) 5572 8808

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Portrait

For my birthday, my mother commissioned this wonderful portrait of Dim Sim. It is stunning and I love it! It is done by a wonderful local artist, and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Without Borders

Robin Robertson is one of my favourite vegan cookbook authors. She is extremely prolific, having written countless tomes (many of which I have on my shelves) filled with so many recipes! Vegan Without Borders is her international cookbook, with recipes from around the world. You can see my other posts about this book here.

Seitan Jagerschnitzel and Halushki (Eastern Europe): I served these two dishes together, which made for a lovely dinner. The halushki is a simple dish of onion, cabbage, and noodles (I used 8 oz of linguine), along with some herbs (I used fresh parsley and dried dill). It needs a fair whack of seasoning, but made a great backdrop for the stronger flavours of the jagerschnitzel. I used Lamyong mushroom chunks, sliced thinly, rather than seitan, which added a great flavour. This stew has a mushroom and white whine sauce, with lots of seasonings and spices, and made creamy by sour cream. I found it to be quite soupy, even after adding the cornstarch to thicken, so I'd suggest adding less stock to make for a thicker stew.
Rating: Jagerschnitzel :). Halushki :)

Seitan Jagerschnitzel and Halushki

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou (France): This is a simple dish to make, just roast a bunch of vegetables and make the basil pistou. For the vegetables, I didn't use any capsicum, and I roasted the cherry tomatoes separately. I also added a tin of white beans to make it more of a meal. For the basil pistou, I made a half recipe which was plenty for the ratattouille. Unlike a pesto, it doesn't have any nuts or cheese. The book recommended serving with baguette, but I served with spinach and brown rice because that's what I felt like.
Rating: Ratatouille :), Pistou :)

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

Portuguese Kale Soup (Spain and Portugal): This is a solid soup, nothing outstanding, but savoury and satisfyinbg. As well as kale (obviously), it has onion, potato, and white beans in it. I only used one tin of beans (rather than two) and added extra kale because I had a large bunch. I also left out the chili flakes. This would be a good sick day soup.
Rating: :)

Portuguese Kale Soup

Orzo and Chickpea Salad (Greece): This makes a big salad, excellent for hot day dinner or lunches. As well as the title ingredients, it is full of tomato, cucumber, olives, celery, and herbs, and topped with toasted pine nuts. Also scallions, though I substituted them for chives, and I didn't have any parsley so I left that out as well. The dressing is simple and lemony, I used my water and guar gum sub trick instead of the oil because oily dressings make me feel a bit queasy, and I used garlic powder because my tummy doesn't like raw garlic anymore.
Rating: :)

Orzo and Chickpea Salad

Jackfruit Gyros (Greece): These made a lovely, light dinner, served with the above salad. The jackfruit is shredded (I used the food processor) and cooked with lemon and lots of herbs, then shoved into warm pita with spinach (which I used instead of lettuce) and tomato. The recipe also calls for a batch of Tzatziki Sauce, though the one in the book calls for yoghurt and sour cream and I didn't have sour cream. Instead I made my own quick version with greek yoghurt, cucumber, dill, garlic powder, and salt.
Rating: :)

Jackfruit Gyros

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup (Africa): This was a good, hearty soup with a nice flavour. Chickpeas and lentils make it a protein-filled dinner, though I still got three servings out of it rather than the 4-6 the book suggested (perhaps those were for serving as a soup course, not as a whole dinner). It does have some harissa in it, and hilariously I did try and make a less hot version of harissa (I made this back when I still did a little bit with chili), though it didn't work too well. So I just used a teeny drop. Served over some baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Mellow Doodles Portrait

Something a bit different today. Check out this gorgeous family portrait I got done of my and my sweet babies by Mellow Doodles

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Midweek Munchies (lots of soup)

Hello friends! So this week's midweek munchies isn't all soup, but involves a lot of soup. These are from back in winter, when a bowl of soup for lunch seemed perfect. Now we are in summer, and a bowl of soup sounds horrifying!

But first up, this lovely slice of asparagus quiche that I got at a vegan bake sale.

Asparagus Quiche from ALQ Bake Sale

Soup number one is this discounted packet of chickpea and vegetable soup. And it was fine. Nothing spectacular, but hit the spot.

Soup On Sale

Again on the non-soup front, a new brand of vegan biscuits (what we call cookies here in Australia). Monte Carlo's are an old favourite, with raspberry and vanilla filling. These ones were very nice! Much fancier than the old Arnott's ones I used to eat in my pregan days, and much easier than making them myself.

Monte Carlos

Vegans were excited about this brand of soup this winter, which has several vegan flavour options. Most of those options have chilli though, this was the only one that didn't. It was a bit bland, so I added some nutritional yeast, which improves most things.

Cauliflower Cashew Soup

I bought these sweet potato bites to serve with some salad I was making. They were nice and tender, and very easy to heat up. A nice change from falafel, and a quick and easy addition to dinner.

Yumi's Sweet Potato Bites

And finally, some tomato soup. Heinz Big Red Ready-To-Serve tinned tomato soup is vegan (make sure you get the regular one, not the creamy one), and it is my favourite tomato soup. The flavour is spot on what I want when I crave tomato soup, it is so easy to make, it is perfect served with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Tomato Soup with Cheese Toastie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Dim Sim, she is just so beautiful.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Eating Out: i like ramen (plus art, dinosaurs, bubble tea, and Puffs)

Vegan ramen restaurant i like ramen is a place I have eaten at a number of times before. They started as a Gold Coast pop up, then a Brisbane pop up, then moved to a Brisbane and Gold Coast restaurant, then just a Brisbane restaurant. They have recently closed their Brisbane restaurant, with plans to re-open a restaurant down at the Gold Coast. However, I did have a couple of visits before they closed, which let me round out my menu experiences with them. Always a good thing to feel like you haven't missed out on trying something you really wanted to! Both these visits coincided with other reasons for being in the area, so I will share a bit about those fun adventures as well.

I went after work one Saturday afternoon, for an early dinner and to do a few other things in the area. First up, I wanted to go and see a small art exhibition put on by Cute Girls Art Club at a nearby bar. It was really nice, with lots of cute art, often with a witchy theme (which I love). There were a lot of gorgeous pieces, but I was especially taken by this sweet black cat painting.

Art at Cute Girls Art Club

Then it was on to dinner! The last time I had been, I was disappointed with my Chick'n and White Miso Ramen, and envious of my friend's Tokotsu Ramen. This time, I finally got a delicious bowl of Tonkotsu all to myself! And it was outstanding. Yellow ramen noodles, confit cherry tomatoes, marinated bamboo shoots, spring onion, sprouts, nori, and sesame seeds in a rich and creamy broth. It was so good! The confit cherry tomatoes were out of this world!

Tonkotsu Ramen at i like ramen

Afterwards, I headed out to B Lucky & Sons Arcade and Bar, just a short walk away. I had seen someone post an IG story of themselves there, and I spied a Jurassic Park game in the background! It is a bit fancy, you have to walk through an area where you have to buy and load a card with money so you can play the games. I was a bit nervous at first, I am used to eating out on my own, going to galleries and movies and things on my own, but an arcade seems like a group activity. But then I thought, meh, I wanna play the dino game, so I did. Set after the events of JP3, it foreshadows the events of JWFK as you have to rescue dinos off the island before a volcano erupts. Key word rescue, I didn't want to be killing. I chose the T Rex event, but sadly even though I did finally rescue the T Rex, they make you shoot a lot of other dinos in the process. They claim it is a tranquilizer gun, but at various times I had grenades or ice bombs and you saw them blow apart! Oh no! Sadness! Lies!

Jurassic World Arcade at B Lucky and Sons

They have some fun drinks there, including some non alcoholic bubble teas. They also have a vegan pizza there, it looks spicy, but I had already eaten something delicious and non-spicy. But I did get the Sweet Melon Bubble Tea - watermelon and Vanilla syrup shaken with peach tea, coconut jellies and fruit pearls. It was sweet and yummy, but had so much ice in it that the peals and jellies all got trapped underneath, and it was quite the tactical exercise to get them out using only a straw.

Sweet Melon Bubble Tea at B Lucky and Sons

But enough random stuff, back to the food. The next (and, unbeknown to me final) time I was at i like ramen, I was there for a pre-show dinner with my friend Amy. We started off by sharing some of the Panko Mushrooms - crumbed mushroom pieces in sour cream and onion seasoning, served with aioli. I have had this before, and it is always good.

Panko Mushrooms at i like ramen

Amy kept the mushroom theme going with the Mushroom Ramen (shiitake and soy mushroom broth with ramen, shiitake and king oyster mushrooms, spring onions, shallots, nori and sesame seeds) with some tofu added.

Mushroom Ramen at i like ramen

I was tempted to get the Tonkotsu again, though decided to try the Mean Green. I hadn't tried it before, and I was under the weather so getting lots of greens seemed like a wise decision. It had spinach ramen with a clear vegetable broth, pak choy, wakame, seared broccoli, spring onion, sprouts, sesame, nori, and I added some tofu as well. This was delicious, and exactly what I needed.

Mean Green Ramen at i like ramen

The play we saw wass Puffs the Play, which is honestly the best play I have ever seen. And if you ever get a chance to see it, see it a million times!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Garden Gizmo

Unlike Dim Sim and (especially) Sahara, Gizmo was not much of a tree climber. So I don't have a photo of her in the tree from when we lived in Sydney. But I do have this sweet photo of her posing in the garden.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan With A Vengeance

I don't think it is a stretch to say that Vegan With A Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, is a pretty important cookbook for many of us. Certainly it changed the landscape of vegan cookbooks, and opened up a whole new world (and community) to many vegans. Although there is a new edition out now, I continue to cook from my original copy (that I was able to get signed by Isa when she was in Australia a few years ago... Terry also signed it for funsies). You can see my other posts about this book here.

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles: I used a chickpea and linseed tempeh to make this (which is why you can see chickpeas in the picture), which had a really crumbly texture. I definitely prefer soy tempeh. This is a simple recipe with lots of herbs and some lemon juice to make some tasty crumbles that you can use in a couple of different recipes, or just enjoy how you wish. I did find the lemon a bit strong, so be sparing.
Rating. :)

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

Baking Powder Biscuits and White Bean Tempeh Sausage Gravy: I put half of the above sausage crumbles to good use in this recipe. I made a half recipe of the gravy, which you can see is very thick. I needed to add some extra liquid to thin it out a bit, and even then it is a solid gravy. But a good flavour, lots of sage. I was only going to make a quarter recipe of the biscuits, but I accidentally added half the fat so then had to add in extra dry and liquid after that. They were a bit tough, and didn't rise much, I suspect due to my errors. But they were still very tasty and great with the gravy.
Rating: :)

Baking Powder Biscuits and White Bean Tempeh Sausage Gravy

Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza: The other half of the sausage crumbles went on this tasty pizza. I used a premade crust and pizza sauce, and I did add a bit of FYH mozzarella (Isa says you don't need to, but also says she can't stop you, and I had some to use up). The rest of the toppings are the crumbles, potato, and fennel. My potato didn't cook through entirely, so often an issue I have with potato dishes, but they were cooked enough. A very lovely pizza.
Rating: :)

Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza

Seitan-Portobello Stroganoff: This is a great savoury mix of onion, mushrooms (cremini and portobello are called for in the recipe, sometimes they are hard to find so I used white and field mushrooms), seitan, and peas. The sauce has a hefty dose of paprika and nutritional yeast, and is made creamy by soy milk and Dijon. They recipe says it serves 6-8 over pasta, but I found I got four servings for it.
Rating: :)

Seitan-Portobello Stroganoff

Maple Walnut Cookies: I made these as Maple Pecan cookies, because I prefer pecans. They are a sweet and chewy cookie, and are guaranteed to please. I needed to cook mine for about an extra 5-10 minutes (I often find this, I think due to my oven). This recipe uses maple extract, which I now own but didn't at the time of making this recipe, so I just used more vanilla extract. The maple syrup in the recipe still gives loads of maple flavour.
Rating: :)

Maple Walnut Cookies

Orange Rum Tea Cake: This is a sweet and fancy looking little cake, lovely for a morning or afternoon tea. A light orange cake is drenched in a lovely orange rum syrup and then garnished with flaked almonds. Be sure to let the cake sit for a while before serving, so that the syrup can really soak in for maximum flavour.
Rating: :)

Orange-Rum Tea Cake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza and Dim Sim

I often eat on the sofa while I watch TV, and Dim Sim often thinks that this is an excellent time for her to come and sit on my lap. Who needs a lap for eating? This always ends up with me holding my plate up high, eating over her. Sometimes it takes her several minutes to settle down, she doesn't care. Here I was, trying to eat the pizza from this very post, but she thought that my lap should be for her instead. Of course she won.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Midweek Munchies

Some random stuff I have bought and had to eat.

I picked both of these up from Coles. I got the Sunfed Chicken on special. It is something to approach with caution, as when you open the packet it is very big, kind of dry chunks. The trick is to shred them up with your fingers, and then they are great. I sauteed them and they were tasty, though they still tend towards the dry side. Enter the sauce, which was also on sale.

Butter Chicken supplies

The sauce says to add to 500 g of diced poor dead bird (the sauce is vegan friendly, the company isn't vegan), and I had 300 g of Sunfed. I was worried it would be too saucy, but there is hardly any sauce in the packet so when I added it, it quickly soaked up into the Sunfed and got quite dry (even after adding the tablespoon of dairy free butter recommended). (I did have some leftovers and got another packet of sauce to add to them, but when I did that the flavour of the sauce was actually kind of gross? Like it needs to be soaked up into things to taste good.)

Butter Chicken

This is a sweet breakfast post-yoga treat I had one day. I haven't been going to the regular Brisbane Vegan Markets that often, but I had to run in one day just to do a swap over of a shirt I'd bought the previous month. I didn't want to stay, I wanted to get home, but I did want to pick up a tasty Chocolate Honeycomb soft serve sundae from I Should Coco. I got them to put it in my keep cup to reduce plastic (though I hadn't brought a spoon), so it is a little smooshed. But delicious.

Chocolate Honeycomb Sundae from I Should Coco

I also picked up this brand of Jerky at one of the markets, though now it is available in vegan shops and IGAs! The pepper steak was good, but my favourite is the teriyaki ginger. It does tend to the sweeter side of jerky, which I know not everyone likes. The only annoying thing about it is that it says once you open it to keep in the fridge and use in three days. I can easily do that, but I also often like to have some jerky in my locker at work to snack on here and there, so this is no good for that.


I love ice cream, and So Delicious cashew is my favourite. But it is expensive here. I hadn't tried any of their blocks, but I found this box on sale plus an extra 20% off for being a member, so how could I say no? And it was good!

So Delicious Cashew Ice Creams

Finally, some Shiitake Dumplings. There are a number of vegan gyoza/dumplings available, and I like to have them on hand for a quick lunch. This had a number of different cooking options, so I went easy and just boiled these. They were lovely and mushroomy, and I doused them in black vinegar.

Shiitake Dumplings (boiled)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in a tree

Last post I shared a photo of a koala in a tree, and Dim Sim in a tree. Here is Sahara in a tree. The same tree that Dim Sim was in last post, from back in our Sydney days. Did you know that you should never call a Koala a koala bear? There is a whole song about it: 'Please don't call me a koala bear, for I'm not a bear at all! Please don't call me a koala bear, it's driving me up the wall.' BUT, you can definitely call Sahara a bear, because she was my bear!

Oh, and happy Halloween/spooky day to those of you who like to celebrate it! Sahara was always ready dressed as a pumpkin.